The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Lights, Camera, Donations! Quick Tips for Effective Nonprofit Videos

Does the idea of creating video content intimidate you? It’s okay—you aren’t alone. Many nonprofits are wary of diving into video, fearing it’s too difficult or expensive, but a simple one- to two-minute film can really hit home and connect people to your cause. It can also be affordable and easy. The most important thing, like any other story you tell, is to make it compelling.

Ready to roll camera? Here are the keys to creating engaging videos for your nonprofit:

Focus on the quality of the story, not the quality of the video. Instead of getting bogged down in technical stuff, remember that your video is really about the story you’re telling, whether it’s about your mission, a person who benefits from your organization, or the volunteer who actively supports your cause. You don’t need fancy equipment or a big production crew. All it takes is a simple camera that can shoot video, a YouTube account, and a good story.

Make it short. Your audience’s time and attention span is short, so your video should be too. Aim for a length of two minutes or less.

Keep it tightly focused. Like all good nonprofit stories, your video should focus on just one idea or one or two people. This might be someone who benefits from your mission, a volunteer, a donor, or even a board member.

Give it a logical flow. No matter the subject or how short, your video should have a beginning, middle, and end.

Include a call to action. Don’t just leave viewers hanging with a great story. Guide them at the end to take the next step in becoming active supporters. Invite people to volunteer. Give them a link to register for your event or donate to your cause.

Include your nonprofit’s branding. People need to know the video is coming from your organization. Make sure to communicate your organization’s mission statement and include your logo.

Use humor. If you can make people laugh, they’re more likely to remember your message, connect with your cause, and share your video. Of course, humor isn’t appropriate in every context, but try to keep the tone light when you can.

Make it easy to share. Always include social media icons or a shareable link wherever you post your video. Encourage viewers to share it with their social network.

Now you know the secrets of great video. Here are some stories you can tell:

  • Tell people who you are. Share your organization’s mission, vision, and history.
  • Spread awareness. Talk about your current campaign or the cause you’re promoting.
  • Inspire action. Invite people to participate in your next event or campaign.
  • Share your impact. Show the results of your nonprofit’s mission. Highlight hitting your goals for past year or what you hope to achieve in the coming year.
  • Personalize your mission. Put a face to what you do by featuring staff members, beneficiaries, volunteers, and board members talking about their involvement with your nonprofit.

Adapted from Network for Good’s Nonprofit 911 webinar “How to Use Content to Boost Donations” with Taylor Corrado from HubSpot. Download the full webinar here.


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About This Blog

Carrie Saracini
Content Marketing Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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